(This gets a tad profane in places...I tried to edit out the worst of it. Who knew I was such a pottymouth in remembering the day?!?)
Monday I had to go back to the midwives and talk about intervention-ish stuff as VBAC's, with the back up doctor they use, are only "allowed" to go up to 41 weeks gestation. So they told me, very confidently, to take the castor oil smoothie and the enema on Tuesday morning since they had been at a birth all that day and wanted time to sleep before another one. OK! That night I had lots of early-labor cramping anyway, bloody show from the vaginal exam they did showing me to be very soft and ready, and about 2 cm. dialated.
The next morning J. got up early and helped me with the enema. You think you've done everything with your lifepartner person and then you are able to be surprised! I drank a not wholly unpleasant smoothie with the castor oil and...nothing really happened until about noon when it seemed like the cramping got more noticeable, though not timeable yet.
He found this widget online that is an computerized contraction counter which sounds totally superfluous but was actually very helpful. They were sporadic, not horrible and averaged about ten minutes apart for a long time.
They got serious enough to call people (I called my mamafriends before the midwife which would be a reflection on how the rest of the labor/birth would go, really at about ten that night.) So it is still Tuesday when it really starts in earnest.
So Tuesday night/early Wed. morning....I kept thinking, I could have my baby tommorow! When the contractions started getting more painful and I thought, why not do that low moaning hippy opening up thing, I also thought. I can deal with 2 or 3 times this for hours more if I knew my baby would be at the end. I got in the water but I always felt like I had to get right back out because of the pressure around my bladder and also my butt. I felt like I had to pee all the time and then when I did pee the contractions would start up again wildly. I developed a love hate relationship with the toilet where I fet compelled to pee there and then I'd just lose it, painwise, as soon as I was done. I fetl like it was a tarpit and I 'd just get stuck there and want to gnaw on my arm for a while, figuratively.
I would float in the pool for a little while. I liked the environment around it. We'd strung up lights and it was still quite dark which was good for me. My friends sat on my bed and gently cheered me on, talking me up was more like it, telling me how great I was doing. Eventually, Lisa left with ds and he spent two whole nights with his friend B.! First sleepover! During all this time, I'd be getting checked and I was slowly slowly progressing. By Wed. afternoon, I was at 4ish centimeters. Everyone tried to encourage me by saying how the last 5 cm. typically went very quickly and not to gauge progress on how long the first half of dialation had taken. OK. The baby was still high though and that was harder to spin, The midwives had me do squats during each contraction which was torturous. Still high up and after hours more still at just about 5 cm. Then I was to do this thing with Jeremy and leaning back on him sitting on the birth ball. This would put the baby's head in a better position in my pelvis, allowing the babe to drop and for things to hopefully go more quickly. The emphasis on quickly was so that I didn't completely exhaust myself before pushing. They were never openly concerned about timelines or anything like that.
Finally, my blood pressure was getting up there. For me, who is usually a 110/65-ish kind of bp gall...the readings of 138/86 (there was another one about that high also...not high-high but in my context it was a big jump and bp stuff is serious.) D. who was very very hands off the entire time, and thankfully I had my crew of friends around me because it turns out that I really don't want a hands off care provider during this sort of experience. I want people telling me how awesome and goddess-like I am the whole time and I had that so much with my support system. So yeah, the blood pressure. D. was serious. We decided on breaking the bag of waters (which was unbelievably painful and I do believe it was due to her technique. She was a little incredulous that it could be hurting so bad but it was the edge of the knitting needle-esque device that had a rough edge and it scraped my outer bits so bad during an already horribly hurty time.) and then continuing to do that ball squat-leaning torture to put the head in the right place and surely, SURELY, that would allow this otherwise-well-positioned babe to open me up where surely (though I'd heard plenty of horrible-pushing-phase stories I tried to put those out of my mind) There was a bit of time that we did this, where I basically lost my shit, in my opinion. My friends tell me how I was awesome and did as well as anyone could of done for that part but I was writhing and screaming in pain basically. I mean, the f----ed up thing was this baby was not posterior but I was having back labor almost the ENTIRE TIME I was laboring. All that yoga had the baby in a great position but my muscles were still doing some f----ed up shit on their own! Not fair.
So they checked me again after the birth ball positioning attempts post-busting of amniotic sac and I'd gone maybe another cm. The really bad news though was there was no change in the baby moving down. Still up up up up up. They were guessing that maybe the head was tilited in a weird way and blah blah blah. I was DYING of pain. Also, they now had to tranfer care to the backup physician because my blood pressure was f---ed up. ALSO, they called the back up ob. and she said in this situation that she'd be likely to go ahead and do a c-section because of the long laboring time, the blood pressure, etc. AND that this back up ob. is located in Miami which is about a half hour (with no traffic) away from my house. So I am like, f--- it let's go to Memorial! (which is where I had Ike via c-section). Well that's going to get you an automatic csection because of their policy, says D. Well where can I have a chance to NOT get a csection...the Miami place? The Miami place where the doc just said she'd do a c-section. F--- all this shit! I need drugs (I'm contracting about every minute); let's go to f---ing Broward General. (supposedly a more "ghetto" hospital that is hella close to my house)! I was going to get a c-section, yes, but this pain was going to stop. I was going to have this baby yes but the pain was going to stop. They would give me drugs and I would have a c-section and then I would have my big pink healthy baby and it would all be over. YES.
Jeremy is freaking out. He is totally processing this shit and stomping around and pissed at the world doing it. He's trying to empty the birth tub and do dishes because he just doesn't believe that people will be around later to do it. They said I'd be having the baby soon too. D. is all, can you do this later? I'm stumbling around trying to throw bare bones supplies into a bag before I crumple and moan through the next contraction. D. tries to talk to J. about his emotions or his expectations or something but J. is snippy with her, She comes up to me and tries to be all, what's up with Jeremy? Is he mad at me? And I'm all...blurgh. Who the hell knows what I said? We didn't have huge issues with her at the birth, except one. She asked at the beginning if it was okay with me that she bring her 5 year old daughter, in the case that she couldn't get her mom to watch her. I said yes but I really truly wasn't thinking that she would be there the entire freaking time. I mean, when my water was being broken I looked down to see little eyes peeping at me as I was writhing in pain. It made me freaked out on her behalf. I really thought at some point there would be some sort of backup plan to get the little girl out of the scene. It was a distraction, it really was. I feel like, even if they had set up some sort of physical parameters for her, like the office and some toys or even the front room maybe...but to have her free to roam into my dimly lit little attempt at sanctuary felt kind of f----up.
So we arrive at the hospital and I am wrung out. Intake takes forever and I'm begging for drugs and trying not to sound too desperate about it which is funny to me now. The only drugs they can give me is the spinal I'll be needing for the c-section. Do I want to attempt a vaginal birth for any more time if they can give me an epidural? No, I'm done. I'm just done.
J. is done too. He's totally in his own pissed off world and he doesn't want to inflict himself on me. He asks Elizabeth and Rachael to go with me into the OR. It's a pretty big deal. He doesn't want to be the sulking a--hole during the moment of emergence. My friends ROCK. They are joyous and celebratory and everything I need. As soon as Clare is born, E. says It's Clarity! and starts bawling. She is beautiful and has lots of dark hair. Rachael goes into doula-warrior mode and advocates for all the hippy shit I wanted to avoid during Ike's birth (only eye drops really...I joke with the anesth. that at least I don't want the placenta! Ya'll can keep the placenta, okay?) Jeremy is already working on getting the babe to me. Elizabeth is up in arms because they said orignally that they could plunk gooey Clarity right on my chest for first nursing time but then they totally welched on their agreement. So Elizabeth and Jeremy (quite the team) join forces and I wind up getting my beautiful girl to me 20 minutes after she was born. She latches on beautifully. We've been hanging out ever since!
While we were in the hospital, my friends Lisa and Crystal came over to clean up the whole house. They did every speck of laundry and emptied the pool. I have chocolate and granola and yogurt and fancy water in the fridge. I've had meals delivered to the house every day since her birth. It's overwhelming....what to do with this gratitude.